Fred Shuttlesworth, Oral History

Dublin Core


Fred Shuttlesworth, Oral History


Rev. Fred Lee Shuttlesworth (b. March 18, 1922; d. October 5, 2011), a Birmingham Baptist Minister and Pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham from 1953 to 1961. He was the founder of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) in 1956 in response to the State of Alabama banning the NAACP. A major leader in the struggle for Civil Rights in Birmingham and nationally, he left Birmingham in 1961 but returned frequently to participate in the struggle. One of the leaders to organize the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King, Rev. Shuttlesworth played an active role in struggles in Selma, Alabama and St. Augustine, Florida. The occasion for this visit to Birmingham was the commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the ACMHR.


Fred Shuttlesworth
Rick Upshaw
Lewis White


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


June 1966


Jeff Hayes
Bob Friedman
Emily Bibb





Oral History Item Type Metadata


Rick Upshaw
Lewis White


Fred Shuttlesworth


WJLD Studios


Tanscript of audio snippet:

Fred Shuttlesworth: As you know there was a lot of political furor going on in the state, and we did not have time to adequately plan for a program, and so we just announced that I felt that I should be allowed to retire from the presidency and turn it over to other hands. I never wanted to play God and I don’t think that I’m invincible. However, since that time there’s been such a terrific response on the part of the local people – in particular, the masses and many of the people who are not…who are a little bit above the masses, we’ll say the classes. They’ve been all of one voice in asking me to stay. Now, my immediate concern is not whether I stay or go; of course, it’s nice to be loved, but it’s better to be needed. It’s better to have something to do; it’s better to have something to commit yourself to. And that’s my job.


Full interview: 30 minutes 29 seconds
Audio snippet: 2 minutes


Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.jpg
Shuttlesworth 1966 - 2 min  snippet.mp3
Fred Shuttlesworth.pdf


Fred Shuttlesworth, Rick Upshaw, and Lewis White, “Fred Shuttlesworth, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed June 20, 2018,

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